Calgary CowfolkCanada’s fourth-largest destination – Calgary, Alberta – hosts ‘the world’s greatest outdoor show on earth for ten days every summer, The Calgary Stampede. The Stampede is much more than the rodeo, fair, over-the-top entertainment and wacky food stalls that it has long been known for. The Calgary Stampede is a story of a community coming together each summer, to showcase their western pride. The entire city is transformed, seemingly magically, to celebrate its western roots with visitors from around the world.
Calgary Cowfolk can be found in every diverse community in the city, donning their cowboy boots, infamous white hats and welcoming smiles. From Cowfolk in the Ismaili community flipping pancakes at their annual parking lot pancake breakfast to the Cowfolk from the LGBTQ+ community who add a rainbow of colour to the event to BIPOC Cowfolk who passionately devote their time as volunteers to Indigenous peoples, whose roots and incredible storytelling make up an integral part of the 110-year-old story of the Calgary Stampede.
Most of Calgary’s 1.6 million residents become Calgary Cowfolk in celebration of the community every July and welcome visitors from across the globe to join in the celebration and become Cowfolk as well.Calgary Cowfolk
Read on for one Calgary Cowfolk story and reach out to avivak@tourismcalgary.com for more inspiring stories of the people of our destination.
NEVILLE HEADLEY, DDS
Dentist, Executive Musical Producer, Wild West Performer
Neville’s connection to Western culture and the Calgary Stampede began the year he moved to Calgary as a boy while at his first pancake breakfast. He developed a fascination with wild-west performing arts, learning the art of trick roping, gun spinning and whip cracking. He has continued to grow his involvement in the Calgary Stampede, passionately promoting its western community spirit.
In 1999, Neville joined the Promotion Committee, which is heavily involved during the Stampede but also shares the city’s western hospitality at events year-round in Calgary, including western dancing at senior centres and trick roping as conference delegates arrive in the city.
This dentist’s welcoming smile is often the first one visitors arriving at the Calgary International Airport see during the Stampede, as he volunteers as a greeter, complete with the traditional white cowboy hat, a symbol of the destination’s community spirit. During the 10 days of Stampede Neville can be seen around Calgary serving pancakes at events throughout the community, as well as line and country dancing, and performing his skilled trip roping, gun spinning and whip cracking.
Edited by Matthew Thomas